Dangers of Indoor Tanning
“CANCER” a six lettered word that carries so much meaning to my family. On Tuesday, May 28, 2011 I arrived home from a long day at school. I could feel it in the air that something was different. Both of my parents displayed long, sad faces. As soon as my mother asked “can I speak to you alone?” I realized that something was definitely wrong. The words that escaped her mouth is something that I would never imagined hearing from my 48 year old mom. She explained that she went to the doctors office to have a spot on her nose examined. After the doctor received the pathology report, he stated that my mother had basal cell carcinoma, and that surgery was required. As a young 16 year old, I was terrified. My mom had skin cancer. Thankfully, after many procedures, and large excisions from the tip of her nose, the cancer was finally removed. With my mother growing up in the California sun in the 70’s, the importance of skin protection and sunscreen was not emphasized. “The darker the better” was a popular fad throughout this time. My mom used to lather her body with baby oil and lay out in the burning sun. I am sure she was not thinking at the time that the sun’s exposure would cause such a horrible diagnosis in the future. Now, my younger brother and I will be severely punished if we leave the house without applying sunscreen. Tanned skin should not be a fashion statement, because it will only cause negative effects in the future, such as skin cancer.
As early as the Renaissance and Elizabethan eras, women with fair skin were considered to be more attractive than women with tanned skin. Fair-skinned women were those who were upper class and spent most of their time indoors. Dark skinned women were associated with being field workers. Women would apply chalk to their faces to make them appear like porcelain. However, with the turn of the Industrial Revolution the trend for whiteness halted. With the working class now moving from the farm to the factories, pale complexions now belonged to the poor, whereas, the more wealthy types embraced some color by leisurely spending life outdoors. Moreover, in 1923, after catching too much Mediterranean sun, Coco Chanel returned to Paris with bronze skin. This ultimately started the chic movement of sunbathing. With Coppertone’s Quick Tan in 1960 and German scientist Friedrich Wolff’s invention of the sun bed in 1978, the popularity of tanning kept rising. However, in 1986, the first SPF 15 was introduced to the public due to medical warnings about too much sun exposure. Unfortunately, people in 1986 failed to take those medical warnings seriously. In today’s modern society, tanning is a basic beauty essential to many women. Many young women tend to resort to a convenient, efficient way of maintaining a glowing tan throughout the year, by the use of indoor tanning beds. However, many young teenage girls are unaware of the deadly effects that come along with indoor tanning. Over time, the effects of too much ultraviolet radiation emitted from tanning beds, can lead to wrinkles, age spots, cataracts, loss of skin elasticity, immune system changes, and skin cancers. In order to prevent young, uneducated teenagers from experiencing such side effects, tanning beds should be banned from minors.
As mentioned before, the ever-changing culture has a direct impact on the choices made by the people of society. The media, such as television, magazines, and the Internet can play a major role on the attitudes towards tanning. For example, celebrities such as MTV Jersey Shore’s main star Snooki. She is famous for her acronym of GTL, standing for Gym, Tan, Laundry. These are the three things people must do on a daily basis, according to the orange skinned reality star. Furthermore, in 2006, Sarah Palin gained a lot of noteworthy attention by doctors, dermatologists, and fellow politicians whenever she admitted to having a tanning bed installed in the Alaska Governor’s...
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